Home Improvement Beats Post Holiday Blues

IMG_4366_copyAfter the letdown of the holidays, I decided to beat the blues with a little home improvement. Nothing kicks winter doldrums like a change in décor. With a bee in my bonnet (British expression) in manic mode, I insisted, “Let’s rearrange the living room.”

A half day later, we were still on our hands and knees, snapping at each other.

Moving furniture meant revealing a decade’s worth of grime. In the past, my mess was limited by frequent relocations. We’ve lived in our present home for a record length of time, so now I’m busted. Loopholes in my if-you- can’t-see-it, it-ain’t-dirty, dysfunctional cleaning policy are exposed.

What a revelation! I never realized that dust could inhabit so many places- ledges of drawers, behind chair legs, under the coffee table. Like trapeze artists, spiders swung from lamp fixtures, bookshelves, and window ledges.

A women’s prerogative can be so annoying. I couldn’t visualize the new furniture arrangement; I needed a trial run. Ze Frenchman pushed, pulled, and turned tables, couches, chairs for my viewing pleasure. In the end I didn’t like the new look, so we started over again.

Our writing desk/armoire, too heavy to lift, had to be emptied first. Sorting through drawers was like strolling down memory lane of my children’s life. I discovered souvenirs from every adventure– badges from the Grand Canyon, Kandersteg camp in the Alps, and Jim Peck’s Wildlife Park in Wisconsin. I journeyed across Europe sifting through mementos from school trips to the Camargue, Venice, Strasbourg, Florence, Paris, and Barcelona. I relived games when I uncovered certificates and medals from each of their teams. Like a kid on a scavenger hunt, I found silly putty, magic pens, a set of acrylics, a stack of cards, five kinds of tape and coins from fifteen different countries.IMG_4367_copy

What bliss filling the recycling bins! I pitched a phone book collection, dating back to 2005, and papers galore: college applications, chemistry exams, history notes, math graphs, and English essays. I discarded broken flashlights, old cassettes, sticker books, yoyos, Legos and marbles.

While my husband moved furniture half a dozen times, I remained glued to my desk drawer, lost in the past until he interrupted my reverie, shouting,

“Aspi!”

Aspi is short for aspirateur (French for vacuum cleaner.) Don’t you love the image – aspirating, sucking up a decade of dirt.

Naturally “remodeling” included relocating the TV/VCR/Home Video System to the opposite corner of the room, which meant rewiring a beehive of cables. As Gerald raged, shouting expletives, I thought, ‘oh goodie another French lesson for me.’

Finally I stopped cold when ze Frenchman threatened to bring home his new, young secretary and solicit her advice because he insisted, “SHE is also an interior designer.”

“Not in my house! Nooo, way.”

His ploy worked; I quit nagging in time for him to collapse into his chair to enjoy his favorite sports program. Well, I’ll be darned! Where did I relocate the remote control? Frantically, I repeated my clean sweep in reverse to see where I had inadvertently misplaced ze Frenchman’s favorite toy.

Now I am settled in my nice, clean salle de sejour (notice I did not say house) so from my living room to yours best wishes for 2014.IMG_4365_copy

Thanks for following my exploits. Stay with me… the New Year promises more adventures from X-pat.

Posted in social view.

29 Comments

  1. Ha ha ha…. Well done Gerald for using the French secretary threat as you gorged on the past and left him with the monumental task in hand 🙂 thanks for making me laugh on a Sunday morning once again – you spring clean my soul every week with your blogs. Lots of love, Rach xxx

    • Aw thanks, Rach. Love that image…”spring clean my soul every week.” Even though you are over 10,000 miles away, still feel so connected.

    • I hate dust, too, but never notice it until someone is coming to dinner. Tarzghay…that’s what my sisters in the Midwest call it too. Do you know how that started? Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Ugh! Thanks for the reminder that I need to go through an excavation in my house too! I believe you’ve just convinced me to wait another decade. But your living room does look great. Well done you two.

    • Oh Tinee, your house is never dirty. You are a supermom and homemaker extraordinaire…not to mention and now a dynamic business woman too.

  3. Ugh! Thanks for the reminder that I need to go through an excavation in my house too! I believe you’ve just convinced me to wait another decade. But your living room does look great. Well done you two.

  4. I always love your words, but today I really appreciate the photos. I have always wondered what your home looks like. Thanks for sharing the intimate look into your very special place!

  5. New year calls for cleaning, Pat, and it sounds (and looks) like y’all did a great job! Having moved LOTS, I know how easy it is to let the cleaning go. After all, why bother when you’re just going to pick up and move again?! But now that you’re settled, a deep clean gives you an excuse to skip down Memory Lane. And really, doesn’t it FEEL better now that it’s done?!

  6. J’ai bien rigolé!!! Et après ça, Gégé s’étonne d’avoir mal aux épaules!!! Je ne vais pas encore tenter l’aventure mais nul doute qu’il y a chez moi pas mal de poussière bien installée et quelques araignées jouant les acrobates.
    a long time ago, les meubles du salon et de la salle à manger attrapaient le tourni à force de changer de place. ca fait longtemps qu’ils dorment tranquillement, ton arcticle me donne des idées!!!

  7. J’ai bien rigolé!!! Et après ça, Gégé s’étonne d’avoir mal aux épaules!!! Je ne vais pas encore tenter l’aventure mais nul doute qu’il y a chez moi pas mal de poussière bien installée et quelques araignées jouant les acrobates.
    a long time ago, les meubles du salon et de la salle à manger attrapaient le tourni à force de changer de place. ca fait longtemps qu’ils dorment tranquillement, ton arcticle me donne des idées!!!

  8. It’s so funny, if I think about cleaning out desk drawers, I put it off forever. But if cleaning them out is a means to a different end, I’ll do it.

    Love the way your room turned out. Nothing like a new perspective on our own little world every now and then.

  9. It must have been fun taking a walk down memory lane while decluttering at the same time. Now don’t you feel virtuous with a spanking clean house

  10. It must have been fun taking a walk down memory lane while decluttering at the same time. Now don’t you feel virtuous with a spanking clean house

  11. Ohh, how sparklingly clean!:) Thanks for sharing such a vivid “Day in the Life” expat. Enjoyed it but still not too motivated to clean my own closets:)

  12. Hello Pat – Make sure to have your home inspected before starting any major renovations. Checking for roofing issues, termites, electrical issues and plumbing beforehand can save you a lot of trouble down the road. Finding issues like these when you are halfway through a renovation process can be a nightmare on your budget. Hope this helps.

  13. Hello Pat – Make sure to have your home inspected before starting any major renovations. Checking for roofing issues, termites, electrical issues and plumbing beforehand can save you a lot of trouble down the road. Finding issues like these when you are halfway through a renovation process can be a nightmare on your budget. Hope this helps.

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